Great Women, Great Awards

Let's dream a bit about our posthumous presence in the world of children's literature. If your name were to be affiliated with a book award someday, what criteria would you want to see define the selection process? Stories that feature the empowerment of women? Novels that promote peace or social justice? Or would you want your name to honor books that instruct and delight at the same time, like author John Newbery, who adopted John Locke's motto deluctando monemus as his vocational vision?

It's always an honor when your book is nominated for or wins an award, but this year four kudos have special meaning because they're named after a quartet of my personal heroes -- Amelia Bloomer, women's rights advocate, Jane Addams, founder of Hull House, Julia Ward Howe, abolitionist and poet, and Maud Hart Lovelace, author of my beloved Betsy-Tacy books (I was recently informed that Monsoon Summer is one of Minnesota's 2008-2009 Maud Hart Lovelace nominees -- hooray!)